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WE MUST ALL AIM TO KILL OFF POLITICAL VIGILANTISM, SAYS OSEI KYEI-MENSAH-BONSU

Politics

The Minister for Parliamentary Affairs and Majority Leader in Parliament, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, has said categorically that political vigilantism must be eradicated completely from the political landscape of country.

The Minister for Parliamentary Affairs and Majority Leader in Parliament, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, has said categorically that political vigilantism must be eradicated completely from the political landscape of country.

The aim should not be to curb the menace, he said.

Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu referred to Article 55 of the 1992 constitution, which stipulates exactly what a political party is required to do, and stressed that any business outside the responsibilities prescribed in Article 55 is illegal.

He added that it is not the duty of any political party to form a security organisation for the purposes of offering protection for party members.

The Majority Leader made these comments at a public forum organised by the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs under the theme “Curbing Political Vigilantism: The Media's Take”.

Create awareness

The engagement aimed to buttress the work to find a lasting solution to the problem of vigilantism using the media.

Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu advised all Ghanaians, and particularly the media, to use their platforms to bring much-needed attention to the matter, so that people begin to appreciate the seriousness of the situation.

“Why must a well-meaning Ghanaian be used to perpetrate violence for a politician for political power?” the Majority Leader asked.

Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu urged citizens not to see the vigilantism phenomenon as a current one, and said everyone should be dispassionate, leave partisan considerations aside and support efforts to deal with the issue once and for all.

Political will

He offered his assurance that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has the political will to tackle vigilante activity.

He explained the circumstances leading to Parliament’s inability to deliberate on the Vigilantism and Other Related Offences Bill during the recent recall.

Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said the constitutional, legal and parliamentary affairs committee had too much work to do in respect of the Companies Bill 2018, and so did not have sufficient time to work on the Vigilantism and Other Related Offences Bill.

He dismissed rumours in media circles that Parliament had failed to work on the bill even though it was presented to the House under a certificate of urgency.

Existing laws

The ranking member on the defence and interior committee, James Agalga, said the Minority side had gone through the laws of Ghana thoroughly and had realised that there are already existing laws that can be deployed to deal with political vigilantism.

Mr Agalga argued that what is missing is the political will to administer the laws in a just and fair manner.

He said right from the onset, the Minority had not believed it was necessary to legislate on the issue of vigilantism.

According to him, the state’s inability to apply the existing legislation can even motivate people to engage in further vigilante activity.

Even if a new law were passed tomorrow, without rigorous enforcement, political vigilantism would continue to be a problem, Mr Agalga said.

He blamed politicians for not doing enough to fight the problem.

Media practitioners who made comments and contributions on the subject at the forum suggested that the media should help with public education on the matter to bring clarity to the debate. This, they noted, will facilitate constructive discussion and debate.